Google made a big deal out of its new Assistant when it launched alongside the Pixel and Home. The company has since brought the Assistant to other Android devices, but now it’s launching a preview of the Assistant SDK so developers can start to add it to their own hardware. To show off the new SDK, Google partnered with Deeplocal to create a colorful mocktail mixer powered by the AI; just tell it what kind of drink you want, and it’ll serve it right up. I want one: If you want to create your own Assistant powered device, you can…
Facebook revealed today that it’s receiving more government information requests than ever before — but that it’s also taking less content down. The company today released its Global Government Requests Report, which shows the number of request officials have made to Facebook for user data. The report also includes the number of items restricted or removed for violating local laws. It reads very similarly to Twitter’s transparency report released earlier this year. In total, Facebook received 64,279 requests for data, a nine-percent increase from the first half of 2016. 26,104 of those requests come from the US, and Facebook complied about…
Aaron Gustafson, web standards advocate at Microsoft and author of Adaptive Web Design, will open Generate San Francisco on 9 June. The conference will also feature Rachel Nabors, Stephanie Rewis, Steve Souders, Josh Brewer and nine other great speakers covering prototyping, animations, performance, design systems, artificial intelligence, and much more. Get your ticket today!
How are our interfaces changing and adapting? The interfaces and means we use to access content and services provided on the web have expanded greatly as we have imbued more and more devices with connectivity. When I started out on the web, screens were small – 800×600 was considered large – connections were slow, and folks were either accessing the web via a terminal interface like Gopher or Lynx or they were using a very early graphical browser on their desktop. Most screens only supported about 256 colours and interaction was only possible via keyboard and mouse and generally required round-trips to the server (or refreshes of a frame within the web page).
Things have obviously changed a lot since then in terms of how we interact with the web. We’ve still got mice and keyboards, but computers can also respond to our touch, gestures, our voices, and other physical implements like dials and pens. Some computers have tiny screens, some have giant ones, others have no screens at all. Over the years, the practice of designing for the web has generally followed a consistent path of taking advantage of more and more screen real estate, but with the advent of mobile, many of us shifted our focus to enabling users to accomplish core tasks like reading an article or purchasing a product.
Media queries and design approaches like responsive web design have allowed us to adjust our layout and designs to provide experiences that were more tailored to the amount of screen real estate (and its orientation), but we’ve only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to how we adapt our interfaces beyond visual design.
What’s the first step to creating a great adaptive interface? Planning is absolutely the best first step. Think about each component part of your interface and brainstorm the different ways it may need to be experienced. Iterate on that. Ask tough questions.
Consider the performance implications of your choices. Can you provide a default state that is streamlined and lightweight? When might it make sense to incorporate richer imagery and the like? Are there alternative ways you can approach that enrichment?
Taking the time to ask questions and plan out the experience ahead of time – even in broad strokes – will pay dividends when it come to copywriting, design, development, and testing.
What are some recurring mistakes you see in regards to interfaces and how can we avoid them? One of the issues I see time and time again in web projects is improper use of semantics. Whether this comes from a lack of understanding of the purpose each element in HTML serves or a lack of concern for the implications of poor element choices, it’s a problem.
As a simple example, consider a form. Users need to submit that form. I’ve seen developers use button, input, a, and even div elements to provide a clickable button. But these choices are not equal. An input or button element, when given a type of submit, can provide this functionality easily.
The elements we choose matter.
What can people expect to take away from your talk at Generate San Francisco? My hope is that folks who see my talk will have their perspective broadened, if only a little bit. I want them to become more aware of the ways in which real people use the products we create. Folks who can only afford older or lower-end hardware, folks without constant network connectivity, folks who rely on keyboard commands or their voice or their eyes to browse and interact with the web.
When you become aware of the myriad ways people can and will access the web, your work naturally becomes more inclusive. And that’s my goal: increasing the inclusiveness of the web.
Generate San Francisco will give you exclusive insights into design and development at Netflix, Uber, Airbnb, Twitter, Salesforce, Huge and more. If you can't make it to SF, there's also a Generate conference in London in September, which will feature workshops and talks about design and content sprints, responsive CSS components, UX strategy, conversational interfaces, accessibility and tons more.
In 2016, WordPress meetups had the fastest growth the community has seen in five or six years with more than 62,566 people attending in 58 different countries. Meetups are the seeds of future WordCamps. These local gatherings help users further their WordPress skills and underpin the community’s growth across the globe.
Funding a local meetup can be a challenge, as organizers often have to seek out sponsors just like a WordCamp but at a smaller scale. The San Francisco WordPress meetup (WPSFO) is trying something new by publicly managing its budget and expenses with Open Collective. Last week we featured the service in an article and WPSFO lead organizer Shannon Dunn commented on his meetup’s experience with it so far.
“It creates a level of transparency for the whole community and lets current and prospective customers understand where the money goes,” Dunn said. “I’d say we’re pretty happy with it and it’s an integral part of managing our meetup.”
Dunn started attending and helping out with WPSFO in 2011 and stepped up to be lead organizer at the beginning of 2016. Former lead organizer Zach Berke, who started in 2007, was the one who initially suggested the idea of using Open Collective.
“Before we started with Open Collective, sponsors paid for things directly,” Dunn said. “We’ve had various host sponsors (Automattic, Exygy, Pantheon) that have provided meeting space, food, and drinks. These hosts have always paid for the food directly. We also had a relationship with WPEngine at one point. They paid a videographer to film the meetups. All other expenses, usually for minor things, were paid for by the organizers.”
Dunn said that Open Collective has helped to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses for meetup organizers, as it provides a straightforward process for posting expenses and getting reimbursed.
“Funding a meetup can be pretty tough,” Dunn said. “It’s great that we have hosts to cover the big items, but various other expenses come up. Those small things are usually paid for by the organizers. Also, there are times when one of our primary hosts can’t provide a space to meet. We have several alternative meeting spaces but not all of them provide food and drinks. On those occasions, organizers have paid for the food and drink out of pocket. We could have gone without, but we try to keep each meetup a consistent experience.”
Dunn said the team wanted to cover these costs without digging into the pockets of the organizers, who already volunteer a lot of time and energy to the meetup. They do not charge for the events and don’t plan on doing it in the future, so having additional funds on hand became a priority.
“Pia from Open Collective reached out to Zach about a year ago,” Dunn said. “Zach had a prior relationship with another OC founder, Xavier, from his early Storify days. Zach agreed to sign up for OC because it seemed to address a pain point. Zach handed the reins of OC to Michelle and I, who have brought sponsors onto the platform.”
Dunn said using Open Collective has had many positive advantages over the previous system WPSFO had for managing funds. Receiving donations and submitting expenses is now streamlined into a transparent pipeline. The meetup has an estimated annual budget of $6,658, based on current donations.
“Being able to provide recognition to our sponsors is a big plus,” Dunn said. “It’s worth noting that this is a young and ever-evolving platform so with that you’re provided direct access to Open Collective’s front line, which is beneficial in addressing any questions or concerns that arise.”
Dunn said using Open Collective has opened up additional possibilities, like making WPSFO t-shirts to sell to members and the general public. Having money in the meetup account means the organizers can do it without having to pre-sell the shirts.
“It’s not like we’re floating in cash now, but we have little bit of money to work with,” Dunn said. “It feels great to have that and we’re deeply appreciative of our sponsors for making it possible.”
WPSFO is one of 23 meetups that have started managing their budgets and funds through Open Collective. Other early adopters of the service include multiple WWCode meetups, Women Who Code Atlanta, and SF Data Science Meetup, with budgets ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $25,000.
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Apple is working on a Venmo-like money-transfer service, according to a report by Recode – and perhaps even its own debit card. Rumors have been floating around about an Apple Money-transfer service since 2015; now it seems the company is making another push in the space. Unfortunately, it seems the service would be limited to people on Apple’s ecosystem, perhaps only from iPhone to iPhone. That would make it extremely-not-useful if you have any friends that owe you money and run Android. The pre-paid debit card rumor is a bit more interesting. According to the report, the company has been in talks with Visa…
Magazine-style blogs are getting increased popularity in 2017! If you’re a web designer, or simply a website owner, you should consider changing your blog theme and adapt it to the current design trends. Regardless of your experience with web design, you can use these pre-designed templates to build professional websites, with almost no coding knowledge required. This makes them accessible to everybody, from beginners to more experienced designers.
When in comes to a successful website, a strong, functional design is what keeps your visitors connected to your content in the first place. Building an eye-catching website with interesting content that keeps your users engaged can be a tricky job. Although, the neat features that these magazine-style blogs themes include will definitely ease your job. Some of these great features may include responsive designs, parallax scrolling, drag & drop page builders, unlimited color options, mega menus, lots of widgets, video backgrounds, lots of shortcodes, smooth scrolls, wide or boxed layouts, translation ready files, and more.
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Prisoners at Fort Dix in New Jersey were able to operate a child pornography ring using smartphones, a cloud, and the dark web. According to NBC News, all five of the prisoners charged had been convicted of possessing and/or distributing child pornography already — internet access is the last thing you’d want them to have. But one prisoner managed to buy a smartphone for $900, which he rented out at an hourly rate, according to another prisoner who acted as a mole. They downloaded the offensive images from the dark web into a shared cloud account — no specific companies or brands…